The outrage over the death of George Floyd in police custody has incited a wave of protests and violence across the United States. Here in LA, we have had an enforced curfew for the past two nights due to the shift from peaceful protests to riots and lootings. All of this is layered on top of the impact on the city of the pandemic. Many small businesses who might have been looking forward to opening their doors, now have more struggles to deal with. It was heartbreaking to watch an African American store owner in tears as his property was destroyed and goods were stolen.
We now have the National Guard in town. I saw on the news a convoy of tanks driving down Pico Boulevard where I used to stroll with our girls when they were younger to buy ice cream. That is our old neighborhood.
In the words of Amy Chafee here is what happened to start this wave:
A man was pressed down onto concrete with a solid 200 lbs sitting directly on his neck. He cried out for water. He cried out for his deceased mother, and once he realized he could no longer breathe, he cried out for mercy and he begged for his life. His nose bled and he lost control of his bladder. Yet he remained trapped and handcuffed under the weight of an officer’s knee.
Onlookers tried to intervene only to be threatened with pepper spray. Even when he lost consciousness, the weight of that knee stayed firm on his neck. When first responders demanded they check for a pulse, the cops refused. When off-duty medical personnel begged for the officer to get up, he refused.
America watched a man being killed in broad daylight for 10 agonizing minutes.
I understand people will dig through everything he’s done wrong in his life. I understand that people will roll their eyes at this. We will see his mug shot and he will become a villain even though surveillance video does not support police claims that he resisted arrest. But there is no crime that justifies this punishment. Whether he has a criminal history or mental health issues, there is no justification for his death.
His name was George Floyd
This is a legitimate time to protest for social justice. It is unfortunate that a small group of people are hijacking a movement for personal gain and it has devolved into riots. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
I was not out on the streets this weekend, I was ensconced in getting the Rewilding Membership Community ready for launch today. And I won’t be joining the mayhem now. Protesting, however, is only one way to be an ally.
There are other ways to be of support. Donations are much needed. Senator Kamala Harris of California sent an email with a link to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund today. They are an organization working on the ground to help post bail to get arrested protestors out of jail. Here is the link: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/ There are many other organizations helping people on the front lines.
This is not about one murder in police custody. It is not just about the horrific killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. These are not isolated incidents. They are the result of a broader system of racism that happens on a daily basis and has been happening for generations.
I encourage you to look beyond any judgment you may have of the chaos and the mess of how this is unfolding. Can your heart open to the pain that is being expressed, even if you don’t agree with the actions? This is a time for love, empathy, compassion, and understanding.
It is a time for solidarity.
We can unite. We can look beyond our differences and see what is universal to us all. We can allow wisdom and love to guide our actions as we demand racial justice and an end to police brutality and institutionalized racism. We are all unique expressions of the one source. We can’t help but treat each other with love when we see this. As Jesus said,” Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We are the same Self and love is the nature of the Self. The opportunity is for all of us, myself included, to wake up to this more fully. Violence in any form cannot exist in the presence of love.
From the transcript of Martin Luther King’s sermon “Loving Your Enemies,” delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church:
When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
If you are like me and don’t agree with the violence, you can still choose to be an ally, stand in love, and work toward a just society. Find your way. Choose how you are going to show your love and express that.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.